Nature Canada Nature Canada
Spring Tips to Green Your Home
News

Spring Tips to Green Your Home

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] Living an environmentally friendly lifestyle can be much simpler than you think. Often, it is the small decisions we make in our day-to-day lives that can have the largest impact on the environment. Want to help promote a clean and healthy environment? Here are a few simple yet effective tips on things you can do at home to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 1. Try larger packs with recyclable packaging. Did you know that the average person uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper each year? That's nearly five kilometres worth of paper! From your bathroom to your kitchen and even your office, you can greatly reduce your impact on the environment by purchasing larger pack sizes with recyclable packaging. 2. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs. A great way to reduce your household energy consumption and save money while you're at it is to switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs or LED bulbs on all of your lighting fixtures. These bulbs typically last longer than standard incandescent bulbs, and can use as little as one-fifth the amount of energy to emit the same amount of light. vegetable basket3. Plant the garden you have always wanted! A great way to get fresh vegetables in your home and be kinder to the environment is by planting your own garden. Foodstuffs often travel extremely long distances from their production site to the grocery shelf, and their processing and transport contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Check out our tips for growing flowers and vegetables here - Connect With Nature: Start Planning Your Spring Garden. If you live in an urban environment, consider growing some of your plants indoors or producing your own balcony garden. 4. Give your clothes a fresh smell by hanging them outside to dry. Hang a clothesline in your backyard or on your balcony, or invest in a foldable clothes rack that you can set up indoors. Doing this will reduce pollution, cut your energy bill and even extend the life of your clothes. clothespins5. Use eco-friendly cleaning products. The harsh chemicals found in most household cleaning supplies get washed down the drain and end up polluting our lakes, rivers, oceans and streams. Organic, all-natural and biodegradable cleaning products are just as effective as most chemical cleaners, and are much friendlier to the environment. Or simply make your own cleaning supplies - check out our 5 Nature-Friendly Products for Spring Cleaning! 6. Adjust your thermostat. Now as the weather is slightly warmer, you can reduce the heat at your home. Let the spring sun warm up your home and by doing so you will save considerable amount of energy and thus money. Cool down by opening your windows for a cool, refreshing breeze. At bedtime, set your bedroom temperature to 18°C, which is ideal for sleep, as your body temperature will drop slightly to prepare for slumber. Turn down the thermostat a bit more if you tend to use a lot of blankets. Sleeping in cooler temperatures may reduce insomnia. For many more ways to save energy in and around your home, visit the US Department of Energy's Spring and Summer Energy Saving Tips. As you can see, there are plenty of ways this spring that you can make your home more green. A lot of these changes are minor and can also save you money while helping the environment. Let us know if you have any other ways to make your home green! Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy contributed to this post.

Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Subscribe to Nature Canada's online community!

5 Nature-Friendly Products for Spring Cleaning
News

5 Nature-Friendly Products for Spring Cleaning

[caption id="attachment_33210" align="alignleft" width="160"]Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy[/caption] This post was written by guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy. Roll up your sleeves and dig out those rubber gloves - winter is officially coming to a close, and that means it's almost time for spring cleaning! It’s easy to clean your home safely and responsibly using products you already own or that are easily found at the supermarket. To spruce up your abode, here are five everyday items that are better for both nature and the environment, as well as your family’s health. 

  1. Old towels and t-shirts. Instead of disposable wipes or washcloths, create some reusable ones by cutting up some towels or t-shirts into squares. They can be laundered in the washing machine (cold water, hang dry!) when they get grubby. For added cleaning power, use microfiber cloths, which have a natural charge that attracts dust and can be used dry or damp.
  1. baking sodaWhite vinegar. Ah, versatile vinegar! Combine a 1:1 mix of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for a DIY all-purpose household cleaner. (If you don’t like the smell of the vinegar, add a few drops of essential oil, perhaps lemon or lavender. Choose tea tree oil if you’re looking for a natural disinfectant.) Use the spray to clean laminate counters, stainless steel appliances and chrome surfaces. Spray vinegar on your shower curtain and walls to remove or prevent residue. Use (without added essential oils) as a mirror and glass cleaner.
  1. Baking soda. Employ this pantry staple as a scouring powder. For those stubborn bits of dried food on the kitchen counter or in the sink, sprinkle a bit of baking soda over the surface and then wash with a damp cloth, applying a bit of pressure. To clean the toilet: Sprinkle the bowl with 1 cup of baking soda. Wait 30 minutes and then spray with vinegar (see the DIY spray above). Scrub with a toilet brush and then flush.
  1. Lemon. To clean the buildup in your microwave: Put half of an unpeeled lemon and bit of the juice into a small bowl of water. Heat the bowl in the microwave to boiling, about 3 minutes. Leave the microwave door closed for an additional 5 minutes. (The steam created will moisten the gunk inside and allow for easy removal.) Open and wipe the interior with a clean cloth. Cut up the used lemon and run the pieces in your garbage disposal to clean and freshen.
  1. tulips in windowOlive oil. Many commercially manufactured wood polish aerosols are harmful if inhaled, sometimes causing dizziness or headaches. Mix your own polish instead by combining 1 cup of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice in a plastic spray bottle. Spray onto a soft reusable cloth (never directly onto the surface) then rub on the wood to create shiny goodness. Squeaky door? Put a drop or two of olive oil in the hinge.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t underestimate the importance of fresh air. During the winter, many of us (understandably) keep our homes shut tight. As a result, residual gases from cooking and cleaning products can linger, making the indoor air unsafe and unhealthy, particularly to those with allergies or respiratory issues. Throw open your windows on a dry, warm day and get the air circulating. Happy cleaning! Share your own green cleaning tips in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter! Acknowledgements: HowStuffWorks, MedlinePlus
Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Discover more about the nature you love.

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.

Donate